Re: [CR]Azuki bicycles--Used Bike Guide

Example: Humor

Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 18:20:00 -0700
Subject: Re: [CR]Azuki bicycles--Used Bike Guide
From: "Mark A. Perkins" <>

To the person that asked this Azuki question, and those who seem to have a few points wrong:

This is what I remember about Azuki, Nishiki and American Eagle bicycles. To qualify myself, the first bike shop I worked in, beginning in 1973, sold Nishiki bicycles as their main brand of bicycles, and we had a competitor across town who sold Azuki. Other shops that I worked in also sold Nishiki. They came from West Coast Cycle Supply (WCCS), a large supplier of all things bicycle which was located in the Los Angeles area. WCCS, to the best of my knowledge, invented the names Nishiki and Azuki, and had these two lines made for them in Japan. And later on, when it became too difficult to produce a bottom end bike in Japan for around $100.00 retail, some bikes were made by Taiwan builders. Having two brands, which were virtually the same, was their way of selling more bicycles. Many people will tell you that the two brands were the same, but they weren't exactly the same. Each model of Nishiki was slightly better than it's Azuki counterpart, either in componentry or slight differences in frames and colors.

American Eagle was the name used prior to Nishiki and prior to a Law suit (regarding a Japanese bicycle named American anything - if memory serves me correctly). I have an American Eagle 'Semi-Pro', which was the second from the top of the line prior to '72 or '73 (not sure when the name changed).

When the name changed to Nishiki, most of the model names remained the same for at least the first year. Starting at the top, there was the "Professional", followed by the "Semi-Pro" (I think this one was later called the "Competition"), then the "International" (changed from "Kokusai" around 1973), next was the "Olympic", and last (or least) I think, was the "Sport" or "World Sport" (don't remember). A word of caution, I may have a few of these names, or the ones they changed to, or from, slightly mixed-up. There was also a touring model, which didn't sell very well, but was equipped with racks (chrome-plated steel) and panniers as well as a handlebar bag, everything one needed to take off on a tour.

If either of these brands was called a "House Brand" by any LBS, someone wasn't very truthful. Neither was any more a house brand than Raleigh or Bianchi, or any other similar brand of production line bikes. Not to a LBS anyway, because they were WCCS's house brands.

To the best of my knowledge, The Semi-Pro was at least CroMo in the main triangle, and the Pro was all CroMo. The Semi-Pro had Sugino, Dia Compe, Araya and Sun Tour components, while I believe the Pro had Shimano Dura Ace (please don't quote me on this point, as I haven't seen a Nishiki Pro since about 1974). The touring model, Semi-Pro & Pro however, are really the only ones worth collecting (IMHO). Azuki also had some top end models, and if you can find one it is probably pretty rare, as are the Nishiki Pro's.

In another month or two, I will finally have the rest of my possessions out of storage, and somewhere in all of that stuff are lots of brochures. I just may have some Nishiki brochures, as well as many others, and I will at least share them with Dale so that he can add them to the CR archives.

A point in favor of the two bikes being offered to the list member, is that this is how one finds bikes that are in near perfect original condition. I can't tell you how many times I have seen matching (his & hers) pairs of the same color and model of bicycles that have been sitting in a garage for years. Their only problem is that their owners have to have new tires installed every time they decide to ride again (once every 10-years or so). I have a matched pair of blue Peugeot's (UO-8 men's & UO-18 mixte), which are nearly perfect originals, that came from two different sources. Don't know why I have them, except that the price was right, but I have them nonetheless.

"Bicycle Mark" Perkins Fresno Cycling Club - Historian Fresno, California, U.S.A.

P.S.: I rode my first century since 1992 last Saturday, which was mostly the lower third of our annual "Climb to Kaiser". Actually my total was about 97.5 miles, but I figure that's close enough to call a century. I could have gone around the block a few times to make the 100, but I figure most organized centuries aren't exact mileage either. My ride was actually the first ride over about 87-miles, and about the third ride over 60-miles, that I have ridden in the past 10-years. Getting back in shape is tough when you're starting out on your second 50-years of life, and haven't ridden much over 50-miles in a day in 10-years. If you love cycling, don't ever let up! It's harder to get that conditioning back once you've let it go, like I did.

On Mon, 6 May 2002 20:37:52 -0500 "nath" <> writes:
> Lou, Steve--
> Was Azuki the house brand of some Louisville, KY bike shop? Imported from
> Japan, of course. (Something tells me this was the case, but I might be
> remembering it all wrong.)
> The headbadge (in my memory) sure looks like a Nishiki badge. . . .
> But I also noticed in the Buyer's Guide that American Eagle is listed as the
> same as Takara, though I'm pretty sure it was the original US name for
> Nishiki. (I had a yellow 1971 American Eagle Custom--gas pipe--and traded
> it in at the same shop for a 1972 Nishiki Competition cro-mo touring frame.
> Same badge, but different name.)
> I sold the Competition to a fellow in Pennsylvania; I wonder if he's got it
> on the road yet. . . .
> On another note, I just took my c. 1984 Fuji Del Rey out today on its newly
> laced Weimann concave rims, Sunshine mid-flange hubs, and Continental Ultra
> Gator Skin 27x1.25s. Nice wheels! (I think the Fuji was as happy as I am
> with them.)
> nath dresser
> spring green, wi